We'll explore five mistakes that we’ve seen niche job boards make when starting out. And you’ll get concrete advice and resources on what to do instead to succeed in the business of job boards.

1. Your niche is too broad

If you’re going for a popular, broad niche you will quickly run into the problem of having to compete with too many, well-established job boards. And let’s be honest, you don’t want to have niche job board giants such as WeWorkRemotely with 4.5M visitors as one of your main competitors.

Some saturated job board niches to stay clear of are remote work, crypto, generic marketing, sales, or web development. Trying to compete in these niches will make it very difficult to stand out amongst the existing boards.

To make sure you’re picking a niche that is not too broad, we recommend starting with:

  • Competitor research: find out which job boards already exist in your chosen niche and whether they are successful.
  • Search term difficulty: to see whether you have chances to rank on the first search engine results page (SERP) to drive organic traffic.
    Type your keyword in Google and check the Domain Rating (e.g. with ahrefs’ website authority checker) of the top 10 search results. If the DR is mostly over 50, it would take months if not years for you to outrank them on Google.

💡 Tip: A good starting point to narrow down to a smaller niche might be combining two popular industries, e.g. remote + educational jobs.

2. Your niche is not big enough

On the other hand, picking a niche with too few people interested can be a problem as well. If there aren't enough jobs or people looking for them in your niche, your board will struggle.

Before committing, check if there's enough interest in your niche:

  • Test search volume on your target keywords: with tools like Google Keyword Planner you can see whether your chosen keyword has enough monthly searches to be successful.
  • Do a quick search for jobs in your chosen niche. If you struggle to find exact matches, that is a red flag. 🚩
  • Explore online communities, Reddit threads, or industry groups related to your niche. The presence of active communities indicates demand. If you don’t find any current ones at all, the niche might be too small to sustain a job board business.

3. Dismissing SEO for traffic

I.e. relying only on paid ads to bring in traffic. While this can work in the short term, it's not sustainable in the long-term. Instead, you need to start investing in SEO to sustainably grow the organic traffic to your job board board. A large part of the job board business is driving traffic.

Develop a robust keyword strategy for your niche and optimize your site's performance and speed for a great user experience. You also want to consistently publish relevant blog posts and make sure you have category pages in place to show up for niche-specific search results.

4. Relying only on backfill to source jobs

Yes, using backfill or XML import are great ways to initially populate niche jobs so your job seeker traffic has a reason to visit and stay on your board.

But if that's all you rely on, you're missing out. You need to start building relationships with employers in your niche. Not only do they bring in more relevant, better job listings. Employers will also open up an important source of revenue for your job board business by being able to charge them a fee to post a job on your board.

Attend industry events or conferences to meet potential partners and show them why they should use your board. Once they see their first success, word of mouth referrals to their industry connections can help position your job board as an authority in your niche.

5. Being impatient and underfunded

Building a successful job board takes some initial budget and time. If you're not patient or don't have enough funds to sustain yourself for around 3 months, you might be forced to give up before becoming profitable.

Remember: you’re building a two-sided marketplace, i.e. you need build both job seeker traffic and employer connections to get the ball rolling.

If you’re starting without either, it will usually take a couple of months for you to start earning money.
P.S. Our customers’ average time to profitability is 1.5 months!

By steering clear of these mistakes and following some simple steps, you'll increase your chances of success in the competitive, but profitable job board business.